Posts filed under ‘consumer benefits’

Smart grid comes home: Google buys Nest

Yesterday Google announced the purchase of Nest, a company that makes “smart” thermostats. Why would Google pay such a handsome price ($3.2 billion) for something as prosaic as thermostats? In short, because these devices may represent the single largest untapped energy management opportunity available — something that many utilities probably would gladly pay for. Not to mention, smart thermostats also provide a way to bring energy management inside the home.

Full post on Siemens Smart Grid Watch blog: Google’s Nest acquisition brings the smart grid closer to home

January 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Green Button now available to 36 million homes and businesses

This week the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted an Energy Datapalooza to spotlight the many ways energy consumption data can help people use power more wisely. Green Button (the consensus-based, industry-developed energy data standard adopted by the North American Energy Standards Board) continues to make great progress on this front.

Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is capitalizing on Green Button — and several more utilities also have jumped on board…

Full post: Green Button access expands to 36 million homes and businesses

October 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Why few U.S. consumers use time-of-use energy prices

Time-of-use (TOU) prices have been around for decades, but so far U.S. customer adoption has been slow. However, U.S. policymakers are now eager to promote TOU pricing for electricity since this strategy has been proven to promote energy efficiency. Also, customers like TOU prices — when they are voluntary.

What’s a regulator to do?

Having worked on this issue for 30 years, I see four main barriers to implementing TOU prices that customers like.

Full post: Why few U.S. consumers use time-of-use energy prices, and how utilities can correct that

September 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

The evolution of the smart grid

As the Smart Grid Watch blog now moves to the Siemens website, we begin a new chapter in the evolution of the smart grid. It is also a new chapter for eMeter, providing a new software focus for this global technology giant and smart grid leader.

It’s a good time to reflect on how the smart grid has evolved…

Full post: The past, present and future of the smart grid

September 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

5 million households save by letting utilities control their air conditioners

Direct load control is one of the most common demand response strategies. It’s when a utility cycles off and on participating customers’ air conditioners or water heaters to reduce electricity demand during critical peak times (typically four hours on hot afternoons, about 10 days per year). These programs help utilities better manage their power supply while reducing costs for all customers since fewer power plants are needed to serve critical peak demand.

Early this year an E Source initiative started closely examining U.S. utility direct load control programs — 49 utilities running direct load control programs in 25 states…

Full post:  5 million households save by letting utilities control their air conditioners

August 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Why consumers should have the choice of time-based electricity prices

According to many surveys, 40-80% of consumers want the choice of time-based pricing. Why? It gives them the option to avoid paying high peak-hour prices for electricity.

Without this rate option, every customer must pay for on-peak power — whether they use, or want to (or not).

August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

How smart meters simplify the language of energy

British Gas has a “plain English” campaign to help business customers understand their energy contracts and bills. The website, Making Business Energy Simple, covers the basics of energy and energy costs as well as savings tips.

Prior to launching this site, British Gas commissioned a research study involving over 1000 small and medium businesses, to identify energy jargon that these customers commonly find confusing…

Full post by Alicia Carrasco: Smart meters simplify the language of energy

July 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

In Spain, smart meters would avoid meter reading hassles, inaccurate bills

In most of Europe it’s just once per year that utilities send staff out to read customer electric meters. However, most customers receive monthly or quarterly bills, based on consumption as estimated by the utility. To get bills based on actual consumption, customers must read their own meters and post that usage data on the utility’s website, or write it down and send it to the utility.

I took this photo in the elevator of my Barcelona apartment building on the afternoon of Sunday, July 8 — when residents had just a few hours left to write down on this posted notice their past month’s electricity consumption as displayed on their meter…

Full post by Alicia Carrasco: Spain: Smart meters would avoid meter reading hassles, inaccurate bills

July 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Smart grid case studies show ROI, other benefits

What kind of return are utilities getting on their smart grid investments? A recent National Electrical Manufacturers Association report on the return on investment for the smart grid discussed a variety of consumer and utility company benefits, and highlighted some major projects….

NEMA: Smart grid case studies show ROI, other benefits

July 16, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Time-of-use prices: Arizona consumers vote with their wallets

Lower-cost off-peak energy prices can save money — but do consumers care enough to alter their energy consumption habits in response to price signals? Apparently so, according to a new case study from the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid.

This case study focused on time-of-use prices offered by Salt River Project in Arizona. Over a quarter of residential customers (nearly 300,000 households) chose to participate in SRP’s TOU programs. SRP also offers prepaid service, with over 100,000 participants.

Here are the big lessons SRP learned from over three decades of experience with offering residential TOU and prepayment service…

Full post: Arizona consumers vote with their wallets on time-of-use prices

June 23, 2012 at 12:58 am

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